Didn't you take the "no new taxes, ever" Republican pledge?
I did. I don't believe that you build a better economy by raising taxes, but I do believe we can have rational conversations like I did with Gov. Brown.
Will you stick to that pledge? I'm sure a lot of Democrats are thinking, hey, Nathan Fletcher's our new best friend.
I don't support the governor's [ballot initiative tax] plan. I don't think it solves the long-term problems. But as I demonstrated, I'm willing to work on bigger, broader issues [of] the tax code.
One GOP strategist said you've now essentially taken yourself off the list to run for Congress or Senate.
Probably. But a lot of people have ascribed a lot of ambitions on me I've never aspired to myself. I really want to be a mayor. I think it's a job I'm well suited for. San Diego — we have amazing potential. We've had an awful decade. We were cast as "Enron by the Sea." I believe we can enter a rebuilding phase.
You worked for a time for former Rep. Randy Cunningham, who went to prison for bribery.
I was in the office a few months before I went to Iraq and to Africa. It was a very short stint before any of his problems erupted. I didn't know him; I'd only been around him a handful of times.
Your wife, Mindy Tucker, worked for George W. Bush and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She too became a decline-to-state voter. Was it a mutual epiphany?
We've lived through my time in the Legislature. She cites the tax deal with Gov. Brown: We were going to cut taxes on Californians in exchange for closing a loophole [the loophole benefited out-of-state corporations], taking that money to provide relief for small businesses, trying to keep middle-class jobs. When we got hit really hard on that, she was, "What have both parties come to?" We reflected on it a lot. We both kind of got there together.
When I told one colleague who I was interviewing, he said, "Oh, Nathan Fletcher, the famous surfer!" That's not you.
I am a surfer, but if you watch me surf, you'll realize I'm not him. I got invited to go surf with the Wounded Warriors program in San Diego. I show up and this guy with one leg — I think he was a Marine — said, "Who are you?" I said, "Nathan Fletcher," and he said, "I have a picture of Nathan Fletcher, and you're not him."
I said, "I'm the assemblyman running for mayor," and he said, "A politician? I climbed all the way out of my house on one freaking leg to surf with a politician?"
He was fine, but it was pretty funny.
This interview was edited and excerpted from a longer taped transcript. An archive of Morrison's interviews is online at latimes.com/pattasks.